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Travel & Tourism
When launching a business in a new country, it’s important to think about things from the local point of view, according to a Salt Lake Community College professor.
Speaking as part of the World Trade Center Utah’s 10 Tips series, Ahmad Kareh, assistant professor of marketing at SLCC, noted language and cultural specifics in each country can make a world of difference when launching a brand internationally—and it’s important to get it right.
“This is truly essential because it’s rare that you have more than one chance to present your product,” he said.
Business owners should ask themselves what their product is and what it does, how that product translates into local culture, as well as what the target audience is and what that audience’s place in the country’s overall culture is, he said. Once those questions have been answered, business owners need to think about how to present their product.
Language, for example, is more than straight-across translation, he said.
“Language is more than just speaking,” he said. “Are you translating your website correctly? How is your product perceived?”
Businesses should also try to staff their customer service—ideally on several platforms, such as phone and live chat—with locals or people who are intimately familiar with the local language and customs. This is also a good strategy for social media, he said.
In addition, owners should find out how people in the target country search for that product and make sure to include that phrase in several places around their website to help customers find their product, Kareh said.
Most websites and payment platforms will allow users to simply convert a price through different currencies, he said, but that can be dangerous—a simple conversion might give a product a price ending with .23 or another unusual number, which can be less attractive than prices ending with .49 or .99. Business owners should also find out what the cultural preference is locally for payment platforms, he said, such as wire transfers or services like PayPal.
Cultural shopping trends are also important to consider, Kareh said. Some countries tend to have more spontaneous shoppers, while another country might have more competitive shoppers, while still others might skew toward emotional shoppers. Culture is also important when considering what styles of product to stock. Knowing the culture around shopping and products can help businesses reach and keep customers, he said.
“Customer acquisition is not cheap. It’s actually pretty expensive,” he said. “The wrong shortcut can get you out of business.”
Getting a product or advertisements in front of potential customers is important, Kareh said, but that’s not the end of the story.
“Getting in front of a large number of people is very important, but the frequency is more important,” he said. “So, how many times do you get in front of the right people?”
Businesses can increase the number of targeted would-be customers by going through platforms like Amazon or eBay, he said. Businesses should also pay attention and work on improving their analytics, as well, he said, which can be more important than how profitable a business is out of the gates.
“If you want to get investors, these are the numbers they’re going to want to see,” Kareh said. “They feel like if you have the right amount of people looking at it, they can figure out how to make a profit.”